new zealand travel guide

New Zealand Travel Guide (2023)

This New Zealand travel guide contains everything you need to know about making the most of your time in this incredible country. Whether you’re a budget backpacker or seeking a luxurious getaway, New Zealand caters to all kinds of travelers, offering abundant adventure and beauty to anyone who visits. 

New Zealand is certainly one of the most scenic destinations in the world. Snow capped mountains tower over miles of sandy coastlines, turquoise glacial lakes dot the inland, active volcanoes create geothermal wonderlands, and there are some of the most accessible glaciers in the world set in lush rainforests. Not to mention the millions of sheep.

The offerings in New Zealand are simply endless, teeming with pristine wildlife, thousands of hiking trails, empty tropical beaches, and more adrenaline activities than you can imagine. No matter where you travel in New Zealand, you’ll be met by breathtaking landscapes and wide open spaces, making it one of the top countries to experience van life. 

After spending two and a half years here, I can confidently say that New Zealand changed my life. From living in a campervan to spending a winter season in Queenstown to hiking hundreds of trails, you name it, and I’ve probably done it. I’m thrilled to share my experiences in this New Zealand travel guide, so keep reading to get into the good stuff.

New Zealand Travel Guide (2023)

New Zealand has something for everyone: mind blowing scenery, the best hiking in the world, adventure activities galore, tropical beaches, lush rainforests, active volcanoes, and of course, notoriously friendly Kiwis.

I’ve put together this New Zealand travel guide to share everything I learned during my time in this country. It covers just about every topic, from what to see, things to do, where to stay, how to get around, trip costs, and so much more.

Ready to discover all that New Zealand has in store? This is the only New Zealand travel guide you will ever need.

Basic Things to Know About New Zealand

New Zealand is a beautiful country with a rich culture and history. While you prepare for your trip, there are some basic things you should know before you go. Here are some key things to keep in mind:

> Language: New Zealand has three official languages: English, Maori (Te Reo), and New Zealand Sign Language. English is the most commonly spoken language throughout the country, but Te Reo is also heavily integrated within the society, so it’s always helpful to know a few simple phrases. Good starter words are Aotearoa, which is the Maori name for New Zealand (literally translated to the land of the long white cloud), and Kia Ora, which is a common greeting.

> Currency: The currency used in New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD). The rate fluctuates, but it’s typically around $1 NZD to $0.60 USD. Credit cards are widely accepted, but it’s always a good idea to carry some cash with you, especially if you plan on visiting rural areas or farm stands.

> Safety: New Zealand is considered one of the safest countries in the world, with low crime rates and the friendliest people I’ve ever met. However, it’s always important to be aware of your surroundings and take basic safety precautions, such as locking your car and not leaving valuables in plain sight. New Zealand also has lots of winding roads, so taking it slow is imperative, especially if you’re not used to driving on the left-hand side! A final word of advice is to keep an eye on local weather since New Zealand is prone to natural disasters, like the recent cyclone on the North Island.

> Clothing: The thing about New Zealand weather is it’s scorching hot in the sun and freezing cold in the shade. This is true year-round due to New Zealand’s ultra-powerful sun, so packing layers is essential. Prepare to dress for winter in the morning, summer in the afternoon, and autumn by nightfall. It’s also worth packing comfortable shoes and hiking clothes because you’ll be doing plenty of walking to explore New Zealand’s beautiful landscapes.

Best Places to Visit in New Zealand

1. Queenstown

A popular tourist destination, Queenstown is known for its adrenaline activities, skiing, beautiful scenery, and vibrant nightlife. Even after living here for a year, I never ran out of things to do. There are endless hiking trails with insane views, a glacial lake to enjoy, and an energetic town that’s lively year-round. Queenstown is also a convenient base for trips to some of the South Island’s most noteworthy spots.

Highlights: Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, AJ Hacket Bungee, Shotover Canyon Swing, Skyline Gondola & Luge

2. Northland

Known for its beautiful beaches, ancient forests, and rich Maori culture, Northland is a great place to learn about New Zealand’s history and enjoy amazing activities on the ninety mile stretch of beach, like sandboarding, quad biking, and of course, hiking. You can even see wild horses! Northland is pretty warm year round, so head here to take advantage of swimming holes, waterfalls, and even scuba diving.

Northland Highlights: Cape Reinga, 90-Mile Beach, Te Paki Sand Dunes, Bay of Islands, Waitangi Treaty Grounds

3. Milford Sound

Milford Sound is a spectacular fjord located in Fiordland National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This natural wonder is renowned for its breathtaking scenery, which includes towering mountains, cascading waterfalls, and crystal-clear waters, despite the ever-present grey weather. Milford Sound can be experienced via boat cruise, kayak, or the spectacular Milford Track, which is one of New Zealand’s Great Walks. This is also one of the best places to see New Zealand wildlife, with seals, dolphins, and even penguins.

Milford Sound Highlights: Boat cruise, Milford Track, Underwater Observatory, Key Summit, Lake Marian Track

4. Abel Tasman National Park

Known for its golden beaches, lush forests, and crystal-clear waters, Abel Tasman National Park is a great place to hike, kayak, and relax. The coastal track runs the length of the national park and can be walked over several days or in portions. It’s a truly remarkable area of New Zealand, and whether you choose to spend the night or make it a day trip, it shouldn’t be missed.

Abel Tasman Highlights: Coastal Track, Bark Bay, Anapai Bay, Anchorage, Split Apple Rock

5. Rotorua

Rotorua is a renowned tourist destination in New Zealand that offers a unique blend of geothermal wonders, Maori culture, and natural hot springs. The city is situated in the central North Island in the Taupo Volcanic Zone, a geothermal area with intense volcanic activity. Rotorua boasts a wide range of exciting activities and attractions for visitors of all ages. Don’t forget to pack your bathing suit!

Rotorua Highlights: Te Puia Springs, Redwood Forest, Waimangu Volcanic Valley, Kerosene Creek, Hell’s Gate, Whakarewarewa Living Maori Village

6. The Wild West Coast

The wild West Coast of New Zealand is a rugged and beautiful region that spans the western coast of the South Island. It’s known for dramatic landscapes, wild beaches, and untamed wilderness just waiting to be discovered. Filled with lush rainforests, towering glaciers, and rushing rivers, the West Coast is any adventure lover’s dream and a top place to get off the grid for a while.

West Coast Highlights: Copland Track, Franz Josef Glacier, Fox Glacier, Hokitika Gorge, Karamea caves, Lake Matheson, Pancake Rocks

7. Kaikoura

Known for its marine life, Kaikoura is home to a jumbo underground canyon that makes for an epic feeding ground for whales, dolphins, seals, and other sea creatures. With plenty of trails to explore, it’s impossible to miss out on the abundance of wildlife that calls Kaikoura home. No trip to Kaikoura is complete without a seafood feast. From the iconic crayfish to the catch of the day, Kaikoura is a foodie paradise.

Kaikoura Highlights: Penninsula Walkway, whale watching, seal colony, crayfish

8. Christchurch

Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, known for its vibrant culture, stunning natural beauty, and unique architecture. The city is a strong one and is still recovering after being rocked by devastating earthquakes in 2011. The rebuild has been creative, with lots of public spaces, a riverside market, and funky cafes throughout the city. Surrounded by the Canterbury Plains, Christchurch’s outskirts are gorgeous. It’s well worth having a hike in the Port Hills, checking out New Brighton Beach, or taking a day trip to Akaroa.

Christchurch Highlights: Transitional Cathedral, Botanic Gardens, Riverside Market, Christchurch Art Gallery, Port Hills, Akaroa

9. Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo is a beautiful turquoise lake located in the Mackenzie Basin of the South Island. It is surrounded by stunning alpine scenery and is a popular destination for stargazing due to lack of light pollution — the entire area is a dark sky reserve. Lake Tekapo is also the best place in New Zealand to see the lupin flowers in full bloom, which is a total bucket list experience.

Lake Tekapo Highlights: Church of the Good Shepherd, Tekapo Springs, Mount John Observatory, Lupins in summer

10. Wellington

Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, is a vibrant city known for its creative energy and stunning harbor views. The city is home to a thriving arts scene, with numerous galleries and museums showcasing the best of New Zealand’s art and culture. The spunky atmosphere of the city shines through in the eclectic shopping and food scene, with innovative storefronts, restaurants, and cafes at every turn.

Wellington Highlights: Wellington Cable Car, Botanic Gardens, Cuba Street, Mount Victoria, Scorching Bay

Top Things to Do in New Zealand

hobbiton new zealand travel guide
New Zealand is paradise for Lord of the Rings fans

1. Bungy jumping off the Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown – This is where the first commercial bungy jump in the world was created, and it’s still one of the most popular today.

2. Visiting Hobbiton – This is a must for Lord of the Rings fans, as you can tour the set of the Shire, enjoy a drink at the Green Dragon Inn, and see what’s inside a real hobbit house.

3. Cruising Milford Sound – This is one of the most beautiful fjords in the world, and a boat cruise is the perfect way to experience it.

4. Exploring the Bay of Islands – With 144 islands, this is a paradise for boating, swimming, and kayaking.

5. Visiting the Waitomo Caves – The Waitomo Caves are home to thousands of glowworms, creating a magical underground world.

6. Go Skiing – New Zealand is home to some epic mountains that make winter an exciting time to visit. Whether you hit up Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Mount Hutt, or Cardrona, you’ll be faced with insane views and decent terrain the entire time you’re on the slopes.

7. Whale watching in Kaikoura – Kaikoura is one of the best places in the world to see whales, with sperm whales being the most common.

8. Exploring the Coromandel Peninsula – With beautiful beaches, hot springs, and hiking trails, the Coromandel Peninsula is a stunning destination. Don’t miss out on top places in New Zealand like Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove.

9. Franz Josef Glacier Heli Hike – This is one of the most accessible glaciers in the world, and you can take a guided tour to explore it. The heli-hike is nothing short of incredible and should be taken advantage of while it’s still possible to run tours!

10. Visiting Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland – This is an otherworldly landscape of bubbling mud pools, geysers, and colorful hot springs.

11. Taking a scenic flight over Mount Cook – Mount Cook is the highest peak in New Zealand, and a scenic flight is an awe-inspiring way to see it and the surrounding glaciers.

12. Skydiving in Taupo – Skydiving in Taupo is one of the most popular things to do in New Zealand for adrenaline junkies. You get coast to coast views of the entire North Island, and the thrill of jumping out of a plane at 15,000 feet is unbeatable.

13. Spend a Day at Hanmer Springs – Just off of Lewis Pass is Hanmer Springs, a massive geothermal waterpark complete with pools of all sizes filled with warm water, private bathing rooms, and New Zealand’s largest waterslide.

14. Take a Trip to Stewart Island – Stewart Island is located off the southern end of New Zealand and is a remote and wild destination, prime for spotting the elusive kiwi, bird watching, and rugged hiking trails.

15. Go on a Wine Tour – New Zealand is known for its excellent wine, particularly Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. Going on a wine tour is a great way to experience the beauty of the country while also tasting some of the best wines in the world. Some of the top wine regions to visit include Marlborough, Hawke’s Bay, and Central Otago.

Hiking in New Zealand

tongariro crossing new zealand travel guide
Tongariro Alpine Crossing

New Zealand is known for its stunning landscapes, and what better way to explore them than by foot? Hiking, or tramping as it’s known locally, is one of the most popular activities for both visitors and Kiwis, and with good reason. With thousands of hiking trails, there’s something for everyone, from gentle walks to multi-day backcountry adventures.

The most famous hikes in New Zealand are the Great Walks, a network of incredible hiking tracks through diverse wilderness areas throughout the country. They are well-maintained and usually take several days to complete, with camping options along the way.

Offering a huge range of experiences, these are New Zealand’s Great Walks:

  • Abel Tasman Coast Track
  • Heaphy Track
  • Kepler Track
  • Lake Waikaremoana Track
  • Tongariro Northern Circuit (this is a day hike)
  • Rakiura Track
  • Routeburn Track
  • Milford Track
  • Paparoa Track
  • Whanganui Journey (this is actually a canoe trip!)

The Great Walks are a huge draw to New Zealand and well loved by locals, so it’s important to book huts and campsites far in advance.

Aside from the Great Walks, there are tons of mind blowing day and overnight hikes in New Zealand, covering everything from short circuits to full mountain treks.

Some of the best hikes in New Zealand are:

  • Hooker Valley Track
  • Roy’s Peak Track
  • Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk
  • Queen Charlotte Track
  • Te Waikoropupu Springs Track
  • Rob Roy Glacier Track
  • Lake Marian Track
  • Ben Lomond
  • Mount Taranaki Summit Track (or Pouakai Tarns Circuit for an easier way to experience Taranaki)
  • Wharariki Beach Walk
  • Mount Maunganui Summit Track
  • The Pinnacles (Coromandel)
  • Duke’s Nose
  • Kaikoura Penninsula Walk
  • Lake Rotoiti Circuit
  • Copland Track to Welcome Flat Hut
  • Earnslaw Burn Track
  • Cape Brett Walkway

If you plan on hiking in New Zealand (which is a must-do), remember to pack plenty of water, snacks, and warm clothing, as the weather can change quickly, even in the summer. And always make sure to follow the Leave No Trace principles and any local advisories for the area.

eating lunch on top of a mountain in nelson lakes new zealand travel guide

New Zealand Trip Cost

New Zealand is a country that you can enjoy on a penny pinching or lavish budget. There are many ways to experience the country, with lots of infrastructure for affordable and luxury adventures.

In this section of the New Zealand travel guide, I break down the costs of things like accommodation, food, transportation, and activities, so you can plan your trip with confidence. I get into more details about accommodation and transportation in the following sections.

Keep in mind that costs can vary widely depending on your travel style and preferences, so use this as a rough guide and adjust as needed.

Accommodation: Accommodation in New Zealand comes in all shapes and sizes, with something for every traveler. Budget options like hostels and campsites can cost around $20-30 NZD per night, while mid-range options like basic hotels or Airbnb rentals can cost $80-150 NZD per night. High-end hotels and luxury lodges can cost upwards of $300 NZD per night, depending on the city.

If you’re a budget traveler, you can score free accommodation by taking advantage of the hundreds of free campsites throughout New Zealand that you can access with a self-contained vehicle.

Food and Drink: Eating out in New Zealand can be pricey, with a basic meal at a restaurant costing around $20-30 NZD. However, there are plenty of budget-friendly options like cafes and pubs that offer meals for around $10-15 NZD. Cooking your own food can also be a great way to save money, with groceries costing around $50-70 NZD per week.

As a budget traveler in New Zealand, I used to survive off of meat pies and fish and chips.

Transportation: Getting around New Zealand can be a huge portion of your budget, with rental cars and campervans costing around $50-100 NZD per day. Public transportation is available in larger cities, but it can be limited in rural areas. If you’ll be in New Zealand for two weeks or longer, it’s worth considering buying your own vehicle (I cover this in the next section). Otherwise, you can always hitchhike, which is free and super common throughout New Zealand! I have friends who don’t drive, that have hitchhiked through the entire country, and have some amazing stories to tell.

Activities: New Zealand offers a wide range of activities, from hiking to bungee jumping to scenic flights. Prices can vary widely depending on the activity, with some basic hikes and walks being free, while more adventurous activities can cost upwards of $200 NZD per person.

Here’s a sample budget for a mid-priced trip to New Zealand:

  • Accommodation: $100 NZD per night x 14 nights = $1,400 NZD
  • Food and Drink: $50 NZD per day x 14 days = $700 NZD
  • Transportation: $100 NZD per day x 14 days = $1,400 NZD
  • Activities: $100 NZD per day x 7 days = $700 NZD

Total: $4,200 NZD

Keep in mind that this is just a rough estimate, and your actual costs may vary depending on your travel style and preferences. This budget also doesn’t include flights or account for the $35 New Zealand ESTA travel visa for tourists.

You can majorly cut down on these costs by traveling in a campervan and taking advantage of all the free things to do in New Zealand.

wild horses in campervan new zealand travel guide
Campervans are a great way to cut down on travel costs like accommodation and food

How to Get Around New Zealand

Hands down, the best way to get around New Zealand is by car. There are some of the most stunning routes in the world in New Zealand, with epic scenery everywhere you look. Taking it all in while driving, or better yet, in the passenger seat, is unlike anything else.

Driving in New Zealand

You can legally drive in New Zealand with a foreign license from your home country or an International Driving Permit for up to 12 months, making it an attractive option while visiting the country. There are heaps of cars and campervans for hire in New Zealand to give you free run of the country.

Some popular campervan rental companies in New Zealand include Jucy, Maui, and Britz, but there are also many smaller rental companies that offer unique and affordable options.

Camplify is a cool platform to rent vans directly from owners to experience van life in an authentic way.

I also recommend using the app Gaspy to find the lowest gas prices.

Buying a Car in New Zealand

Buying a used car or van is a smart option if you’re going to be traveling in New Zealand for a while and don’t have the budget for a pricey rental. This is the way to go if you’re visiting for several months or on a New Zealand working holiday visa.

If you’re looking to buy a car in New Zealand (that you can sell again at the end of your trip), there are dozens of Facebook groups with hundreds of cars and campervans for sale. There’s also the local online marketplace, Trademe, which is where Kiwis list their items for sale, cars included.

It’s common to find decent cars for between $2,000 and $3,000 NZD, and if you’re willing to spend more, it will be easier to sell before leaving. Aside from cars, you can buy basic campervans for low prices and even kitted out minivans that are self contained for freedom campsites. Campervans are usually between $7,000 and $20,000, depending on the specs and interior.

Due to the high rate of long term travelers coming and going, you can usually score a pretty good deal. However, it’s always worth taking the vehicle to a mechanic to get it checked out before handing over the cash.

Personal Note: After selling the campervan we had been living in, I bought a lil’ BMW sedan for $2000 that I took on a month long road trip around New Zealand. I sold it within three days of listing it on Facebook Marketplace in Auckland before leaving the country.

This avenue is well worth checking out, especially once you scope out the price of some car rentals, which can be particularly high, especially during peak season.

But whatever you do, remember to drive on the left side of the road!

arthur's pass new zealand travel guide
Arthur’s Pass, one of the many incredible drives in New Zealand

Public Transportation in New Zealand

New Zealand leaves a bit to be desired when it comes to public transportation, but there are a few options.

The most scenic is the famous TranzAlpine Train, which cuts across the South Island from Christchurch to Greymouth through the Southern Alps. It’s considered to be one of the most beautiful railway journeys in the world and is also a practical way to get from one coast to the other.

The InterCity bus network also connects large cities and some small towns throughout New Zealand. There are a selection of routes that run at least a few times a week, which makes it a reasonable option if you don’t want the hassle of driving. Tickets are between $20 and $100, depending on the trip and availability, so it’s also a good option for those on a budget, too.

Some cities have their own bus networks to get from Point A to Point B, and Auckland is working away to expand its subway system, so public transport is certainly on the rise in New Zealand.

Interisland Travel

If you plan to make your way from the North Island to the South (or vice versa), you’ll have to cross the Cook Strait, either by water or air.

Cook Strait Ferry

The most common way to cross is via ferry. The two major companies, Interislander and Bluebridge, run frequent routes between Wellington and Picton. It’s an incredibly scenic boat journey that lasts about three and a half hours, with decks to enjoy the view from and indoor lounge areas to rest.

You can walk right onto the ferry or book a spot for your car or campervan as well, which makes it the most popular way to travel between the two islands. It’s much less expensive without a car, but tickets are around $250 for two people, plus a vehicle that’s less than 5 meters long.

A Word to the Wise: If you plan to take the ferry, book your dates well in advance, as they sell out quickly. And if your desired date isn’t available from one provider, be sure to check the other and keep an eye out for cancelations!

cook strait ferry new zealand travel guide
View from the Cook Strait ferry

Flying Within New Zealand

Flying around New Zealand is a solid option if you’re short on time and want to make it between the two islands. Air New Zealand and Jetstar are the major companies, and you can generally find fares under $100 NZD if you book a bit in advance.

Auckland and Christchurch are the major international airports, while there are smaller airports in Wellington, Rotorua, Queenstown, and Dunedin for domestic travel and flights to Australia.

Where to Stay in New Zealand

There are endless places to stay in New Zealand, ranging from rugged free campgrounds to five star hotels.

The best way to find campgrounds in New Zealand is with the app CamperMate. It displays a map of free and paid campsites, as well as other camping amenities (like showers) throughout the country, with reviews from past travelers.

Aside from campgrounds, hostels, or backpackers, as they’re known in New Zealand, are typically the cheapest options for budget travelers. You can find them even in far flung corners of the country, making them a dependable choice if you’re tight on funds.

There are also plenty of hotels and even resorts if you’re after a bit of luxury.

When looking for where to stay in New Zealand, it’s worth checking out Airbnb because there are a lot of unique stays like hobbit holes, tiny houses, and gorgeous villas.

Best Time to Go to New Zealand

ohau ski field new zealand travel guide
Winter in New Zealand, skiing at Ohau

The best time to visit New Zealand completely depends on your travel purpose. New Zealand weather is typically pretty mild year round, with colder winters in the south, complete with skiing and hot chocolate, and warmer summers in the north, with lots of ice cream and beach time.

Hailing from Boston, which is renowned for harsh winters, I rarely found myself cold. On the other hand, the sun in New Zealand is insanely strong, thanks to a hole in the Ozone layer right above the country, so the summer can get pretty toasty.

Don’t forget that New Zealand is in the Southern Hemisphere, so spring and summer are September through February, while autumn and winter span March until August.

Visit New Zealand in the Summer for:

  • Tropical beaches
  • Surfing
  • Hiking
  • Wildlife watching
  • Mountain biking

Visit New Zealand in the Spring for:

  • Less crowds
  • Hiking
  • Waterfall exploring
  • Kayaking
  • Lupin flowers

Visit New Zealand in the Winter for:

  • Skiing and snowboarding
  • Winter hiking
  • Hot springs
  • Snow capped mountains
  • Empty beaches

Visit New Zealand in the Fall for:

  • Autumn leaves
  • Canoeing
  • Fishing
  • Marine life
  • Wine harvest

New Zealand Safety

In terms of general safety, New Zealand is one of the safest places I’ve ever been. The people are, without a doubt, the nicest I’ve met anywhere in the world, and even as a solo female traveler at times, I never once felt unsafe.

But mother nature is another story.

If you plan on visiting New Zealand, it’s important to remember that the country is prone to natural disasters, such as earthquakes and cyclones. It’s wise to keep an eye on local weather and always follow any advisories or warnings.

Also, while New Zealand is generally considered a safe country, it’s important to take basic safety precautions, such as locking your car and not leaving valuables in plain sight.

Finally, if you’re planning on driving, remember that New Zealand drives on the left-hand side of the road. It’s also imperative to plan for extra driving time and take extra care when navigating winding, mountainous roads, especially if you’re not used to it.

Tips for Visiting New Zealand

view from a campervan new zealand travel guide
Freedom camping in New Zealand

Here are some final tips for this New Zealand travel guide to have the trip of a lifetime.

  • Aside from a tourist visa, you can visit New Zealand on a Working Holiday Visa if you’re under 30 (or 35 for some countries). This allows you to work and travel in New Zealand for a year, with the possibility of an extension.
  • Take advantage of free campsites throughout New Zealand. I swear they are some of the most beautiful places on earth.
  • Road tripping is the best way to experience all that New Zealand has to offer.
  • Respect Maori culture and traditions, and take the time to learn about them.
  • Visit local farmers’ markets for fresh produce and artisanal goods. They usually happen on weekend mornings.
  • Pack layers for the unpredictable weather.
  • Always wear sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from the strong sun.
  • Don’t forget insect repellent, especially if you plan on hiking or camping in the bush.
  • Keep an eye out for local festivals and events, such as the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival and the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival.
  • Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with locals. Kiwis are notoriously friendly and ready for anything!

More Amazing Things to Add to Your New Zealand Bucket List

franz josef new zealand travel guide
Franz Josef heli hike

To wrap up this New Zealand travel guide, check out 50 more life changing things to add to your New Zealand bucket list:

  1. Take a campervan road trip around New Zealand
  2. Go on a cruise of Doubtful Sound
  3. Drive the Thermal Explorer Highway
  4. Hike one of the Great Walks
  5. See Maori carvings at Lake Taupo
  6. Visit the Te Mata Peak in Hawke’s Bay
  7. Bike the Queenstown Trail
  8. Visit the Karangahake Gorge
  9. Learn NZ history at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds
  10. Look for greenstone in Hokitika
  11. Go swimming at Charlie’s Rock
  12. Spend a day at Kai Iwi Lakes
  13. Visit the Tāne Mahuta Tree in the Waipoua Forest
  14. Explore the Hamilton Gardens
  15. Visit the Cape Reinga Lighthouse
  16. Go quad biking on 90 Mile Beach
  17. Go snorkeling or diving in the Poor Knights Islands
  18. Visit the historic town of Oamaru
  19. Discover Tunnel Beach in Dunedin
  20. Visit the Blue Pools in Mount Aspiring National Park
  21. Go to a music festival in Golden Bay
  22. Soak at the Onsen in Queenstown
  23. Take a camping trip in the Caitlins
  24. Visit the top of the Sky Tower in Auckland
  25. Go rafting in Okere on the highest rafted waterfall in the world
  1. Take a surf lesson in Raglan
  2. Hike to the Tasman Glacier
  3. Take a scenic drive along the Crown Range Pass
  4. Eat oysters in Bluff
  5. Hike the Copland Track to soak in hot springs
  6. Watch sunset at Wharariki Beach
  7. Hike Mount Maunganui
  8. Go to a music festival
  9. See the lupins at Lake Tekapo
  10. Dig a hot tub at Hot Water Beach
  11. Visit a kiwi orchard
  12. Make friends with a farmer
  13. Sail around the Bay of Islands
  14. Go star gazing in Tekapo
  15. Walk up Baldwin Street in Dunedin (NZ’s steepest street)
  16. Eat a Fergburger
  17. Ride the Wellington Cable Car
  18. Take a mud bath at Hell’s Gate, Rotorua
  19. See the Southern Lights
  20. Watch an All Blacks game
  21. Eat French food in Akaroa
  22. Swim in a glacial river
  23. Go jetboating
  24. See Mount Taranaki at sunrise
  25. Have a meat pie

New Zealand Travel Guide FAQs